The former Wagner group mercenary had been a refugee in Norway for almost two weeks and was arrested on Sunday by the country’s police.
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LNorwegian police announced on Wednesday the release of a former mercenary from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, who fled to Norway nearly two weeks ago. Andrei Medvedev, 26, was arrested on Sunday under immigration law, without the police providing the exact reasons for his arrest, but his lawyer had invoked “breaches of the security rules surrounding him” . Claiming to have fought in Ukraine in Wagner’s uniform for four months before deserting in November, the Russian had crossed the Russian-Norwegian border in the Arctic on the night of January 12 to 13 under the bullets of Russian guards launched at his kits with dogs, according to his account.
Having requested asylum in Norway, he declared himself ready to give his experience of the brutality of the Wagner group, a testimony deemed potentially valuable in shedding light on the question of war crimes of which Russia is accused in Ukraine.
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Questions remain about the mercenary
Kept in a secret place, he was arrested after “tension” with the police responsible for his protection, his lawyer explained. “There are naturally a lot of security measures that have been taken and he finds it difficult to comply with them,” Brynjulf Risnes told AFP. Immigration police “release Mr. Medvedev from the Trandum Aliens Internment Center today on condition that he stay in a specific location,” one of its officials, Jon Andreas Johansen, said in an email on Wednesday. at AFP.
Many question marks remain about his personality, his career and the circumstances of his escape. Many experts believe that the ex-mercenary could not cross the heavily guarded border without assistance. Since his arrival in Norway, Andreï Medvedev has notably been heard, under the status of “witness”, by the criminal police (Kripos) which participates in the international investigation into war crimes in Ukraine.
“He said previously that he was a member of the Wagner group, and it’s interesting for Kripos to gather more information about this period,” Kripos said. Both the police and his lawyer, on the other hand, ruled out a possible extradition to Russia. In an interview with the NGO Gulagu.net, the ex-mercenary said this week that he feared for his life if he was sent back to his country. According to Brynjulf Risnes, his client had several USB keys on him when he fled to Norway.
In an interview with The Insider website in December, Andrei Medvedev said he was aware of ten executions by Wagner of mercenaries refusing to return to combat and said he had in his possession a video showing the killing of two of them.